This old house, this new nightmare.....

alexia10January 5, 2010

I need some mental support please!

We used to own a 1940 colonial which little by little we ended doing everything. New heating system, update most of the electricity, gutting bathrooms, exterior work etc etc. Pretty much everything went smoothly and we managed great but the house was small for us.

So when a big and fabulous turn of the century colonial went on the market we decided to plunge and buy it. We knew pretty much everything needed to be redone we budgeted and thought we could do it. As if....

Everyday is horrible and one surprise after the other and nothing is going smoothly. Here is a count of the nightmare:

1. Needed a new roof because of leaks. It is cold so the new shingles do not necessary stick. Every time is windy some fly away. Roofer has to come back regularly. Still got water one day. But what can I do? Can not wait until summer due to water coming in the house.

2. Brand new heating system installed. Went away for a weekend. System went on default for unknown reason, house froze, 3 pipes broke, major water damage. Fight with insurance.

3. Electrical rewiring: We were told about one month. One month passed and only 1/3 is done. Is it ever going to end?

4. Found out that 3 radiators were leaky and needed to be replaced. Found out that supplier would not deliver them and also plumber could not pick them up due to weight. Had to hire special company to deliver and that cost way more than budgeted. Besides what a nightmare to go find old radiators that match the house.

I am in despair. I have regrets.The other day I called a new real estate guy to get opinion and he thinks it is worth the trouble because of location and history of the house and suggested to keep going. That was reassuring and good news. If I can make it to summer I think I ll manage but it is still January....Please send some words of support.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think you're suffering through what everyone who buys an old house suffers through at one point or another.

My suggestion?

Plan a movie night and rent a copy of Tom Hanks and Shelly Long in "The Money Pit."

You'll identify, you'll laugh your ass off, and you'll feel better.

And just remember, for every moment of despair you have at the problems with your home, there are those of us who are stuck in nondescript, boring, poorly constructed, characterless crapshack who yearn to be in an older home with character, class, and charm.

Good luck, and keep us up to date!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 11:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the courage.
I am the one that decided to bring this mess on my self so I shouldn't complain. I am just surprised on how bad it got me down emotionally. Got to lighten up!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 1:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Old houses mended,
Cost little less than new before they're ended. - Colley Cibber

This is he quote on the home page of this forum. It's sooooo true! LOL.

We have an 1820s house. My husband bought it before we were married, because even though I have lived in MANY homes I've helped fix up.....I'd have probably never even considered tackling this one. It's huge, it's ancient, and it was in poor shape when he bought it. We have been there and done that with every square inch of this home. Like another poster said on a different thread, just when you think you are about to finish, it's time to start all over again at the beginning.

Each time something really major had to be done, we reached that "should I just fold?" point. Each time, after reassessing how much we love our home, we bite the bullet and do what needs to be done. Yes, we could have purchased a brand new home easily for what we have sunk in this house. No, I would not have loved it like I do this one. There will always be an issue, because unless you simply gut a house and start over, to preserve its integrity you will have to adjust your modern lifestyle back a peg or two to how its previous occupants lived a century ago.

It took months for to install a central heating system in here, and a couple of years of tweeking and trouble shooting to where we could go a winter without calling in the installer to modify or fix something. He had it completely rewired and a new entrance box installed. (Supposedly). Only the electrician had supposedly left the old wiring in but unconnected. I found out one day when I was installing a ceiling fan, up on a metal ladder, barefooted, that I really should have killed the circuits when I bit into the old wire to make more space for the box. It blew me off the ladder onto the tile floor. Found a second hot line when working on another junction. One by one we are fixing their errors.

We also paid a large crew to travel over a hundred miles a day to re-stucco the house because nobody locally would touch it with a ten foot pole. It took them weeks and weeks.

The list goes on and on and on. But, bad things happen to new homes too because of shoddy workmanship. No.........oh God not rent "The Money Pit". I was so tired of working on house after house as we moved up the real estate ladder, that I nearly tossed my cookies watching it. It gave me nightmares. rofl.

I have no way of knowing from your short post if your house is worth the emotional wear and tear to renovate it, or the money. But, know that we all question ourselves when we are in the middle work we know shall go on for a matter of years, not months.

Our house is not fancy. Farmhouses of that era generally were not. But, when you walk into it, it feels like the Rock of Gilbralter. It's rustic and imperfect and much loved by many generations before us. If we hadn't intervened, it would have been a memory. Doing what we did , you have to be a bit of a romantic, no matter how practical you are in other respects. It's not for everybody.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 3:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh thanks for the great post!
I needed to hear that. Our new home used to be "grand" long time ago and it still has the charm. Wood details, arch doors, chandeliers, pantries, build in cabinets with lead glass etc, etc. Walking in it feels like walking down history lane. The owners of the first half of the century did well maintaining the house but the owners of the other half hardly did anything. They kept the home going with patching up disasters but never attacked a problem in it's root. Roof was badly patched, radiators were glued with cement and leaky, electrical circuits that did not worked abandon, faucets that broke disconnected etc. We think the house has value, the only problem being it is a large house and maybe harder to sell than a smaller one. Right now we are still little emotional about our old home so we are not sure where our love is. I think I going through the roller coaster of the emotions. Selling my old home, adjusting to the new one, take care of my kid's emotions, deal with the set backs , believing it was not a mistake.
But thanks, that was great to read!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 8:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Been there, done that!
I know it feels like you are alone but you aren't. We are all just too busy working on our own homes to post!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 5:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yep, I'm another one! We've been in ours nearly 1.5 years now and few things have gone well (including replacing the roof several years sooner then expected). We also had a patch instead of fix PO. Last January I wrote a post about being overwhelmed and unhappy, etc. I received much support and reminders of why I'd bought the house in the first place. For me, I know that Jan - Mar are going to be rough, and anything I'm even partly unsure about in this house (everything) will be blown up a hundred times. So I just do what has to be done and refuse to make any big decisions during that time.

Hang in there and keep in mind how wonderful it will be, 1 step/project at a time.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 9:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Alexia, our current house is younger (1938) but we have had to re-do everything, so I can empathize. DH took a wiring class so that he could get certified to do the wiring. He went to replace the dining room light (which had exposed light-bulbs) and there were twice as many wires as he expected. The whole house is like that - there was even an electrical outlet installed in a heat vent. The previous owner had done a lot of crazy things.

Regarding the roof - I have seen people fasten a big tarp to the roof to keep the shingles on until the weather gets better.

Be patient with the house and with yourself. Hugs.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 10:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I hear you. We've been here 6 years now, and only in the last two years did we even venture into the decorating aspect of it. I didn't see sun the first two years. We knew it was a fixer upper, has definite charm, but man, what a money pit. We've got WAAAAYYYY too much money in this house, but I still love it and I love the fact that it's our sweat and tears and we can call it our own.

Don't get me wrong, still LOTS to do, but the first few years were definitely the hardest, mentally, physically, and on our pocket books. Every month for at least the first two years, was a big expense. The previous owners, I heard they were nice, but didn't have much money. Things that were "fixed" were done half-"you know what". I can't tell you how many times we said, "What were they thinking?" The home inspector required that they improve the grading around the house, they piled soil on top of rugs, garden tools, toys, etc. I can't even begin to tell you the things I've dug up. What a bunch of lazy's.

I can't think of an inch of this house that we didn't tackle. We moved our stuff in, and had to fill the moving truck with waist deep garbage that the previous owners left piled in the basement, and we had to trek that to the dump ourselves. We had to pull rooms of dog-peed carpeting - I swear every inch of that carpeting was soiled, even the staircase.

And for people who don't do the work themselves, not that we do everything, but it's all the small things that are so time consuming and tedious. Telling you that we spent several weekends replacing old outlets with three prong doesn't sound like a lot of work, but it is. It takes so long to reap the benefits of a fixer upper, but if you have the patience and can get past all the surprises, you'll appreciate your home all the more, some day. You'll know that it's solid from ground up.

We've had things needing repair, on moments notice, simultaneously, and it's not fun. Like our hot water heater, which was ancient to begin with, pooping out at the same time that our basement drain was backing up, at the same time something else major was going on...I think the water line to our refrigerator broke and leaked into the basement...I can't remember anymore exactly what it was, but like they say it happens in threes.

We had our kitchen remodeled, while planning a wedding, working full time, taking care of a family member with a terminal illness..and our kitchen remodel was only supposed take 3 months. Try 9 months. Our dry groceries sat on a utility table in our dining room. We ate out for months, as we had no refrigerator or stove. We microwaved the food that we were able to eat at home, and washed the dishes in the bathroom sink. It was so pathetic.

I had dust bunnies everywhere, for months, that even the contractors commented on, but I couldn't vacume because my house was stuffed with unpacked boxes, we could barely get around. What's the point in unpacking when I have no where to put the stuff, and if I do, all the dust from the remodel will create more dust, it's not worth it. We were getting our floors refinished throughout the house at the same time, so furniture was being moved from one room to the next. The roof was a complete tear off, and cleaning the attic after that was another undertaking.

We had a few nightmare contractors, and others that were spectacular. We had a subcontractor threatening a lien on our home because the contractor we hired didn't pay him (we paid our contractor in installments, he didn't pay their portion to them). I'd NEVER hire anyone who subcontracts, based on this experience. We're first time homeowners. People don't tell you this stuff.

I waited a couple of years to create a relaxing area for myself around my home....which happens to be my yard/patio/garden. Going back, I'd have done that first and foremost. Being in this house constantly, especially amongst all the chaos, is mentally and physically draining. Even if it's just a room, make it your "zen" place to relax and enjoy yourself. Gardening, for me, is VERY therapeutic, and I started off knowing absolutely nothing about plants. Now, I love my garden.

It's easier said than done, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. You'll get through it. And you'll reap the benefits with a little patience. Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 2:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh, the solidarity! Wow... it's amazing to read so many posts and think, I didn't write that, but I could have. Add me to the list. We've been in our 1870 farmhouse for 2 1/2 years of what feels like non-stop money pittedness... so far. For us, it's been the replacement of the heating system, most of the windows, the entire electrical system (very scary), one room (completely gutted to the joists), most rooms at least partly gutted and redrywalled, all original floors repaired and refinished, sagging kitchen ceiling rebuilt with pine beadboard, all messed up plaster ceilings repaired, some exterior walls rebuilt, treacherous stairs and a wonky flagstone patio rebuilt, insulation, insulation, insulation, new eavestroughs, new porch, sheds, new front path, new driveway, multiple 20 yard dumpsters full of yard waste - including brutal nail-filled rotten lumber, broken brick, broken swingsets, bald tires, windows and endless broken glass... and like Kimcoco, our basement was chest-deep in garbage.

So so much to get rid of, I sometimes wonder what we really bought. There's still something left: a 5 bedroom Carpenter Gothic clapboard farmhouse on 2 Southwest facing acres with a great view, but... the massive 2 YEAR cleanup gave multiple new meanings to the term 'negative space'.

Oh and it was infested with mice and moles. An attic filled with vermiculite (at least not asbestos). The ducts, installed in the fifties, had never been cleaned. There was a preponderance of dead trees, including what Julie Moir Messervy so aptly calls *uckthorn, those invasive bad boys with the poisonous three inch spikes.

Bought at the peak of the market. Spent our way into and through the recession. Became homebodies by virtue of the previous two statements and the necessity of the next one. Did a lot of the unskilled work, eg. removing the evidence of old incompetent renovations, cleaning and clearing the land of refuse, and all of the painting, ourselves. Worked at fever pitch for the first eight months and at a slower, steady pace ever since. Got SO tired of talking, thinking and spending what seemed like every waking hour on the damned house that we had to repeatedly prorogue (a little Canadian reference) these house discussions in order to avoid total domestic breakdown. Worst moment: discovering that a main floor room's massive rustic ceiling beams were resting on dinky 2 x 4 uprights with which someone had inexplicably replaced the home's original massive posts, before hiding this criminal act behind drywall (badly installed, thank God). This led me to seriously question whether we would be better off living in our cars. Though also old, they were paid for *and* structurally sound, neither of which the house seemed to be.

Got ripped off by one contractor (and blown off by what feels like dozens). Slept on a mattress dragged from room to room for four months, then in the living room over our first Christmas (at least we were next to the new woodstove!) while we waited for our bedroom to be livable.

Felt quite burnt out at times and questioned our judgment as first-time home buyers, operating under intense time pressure, after an unexpected return from overseas by our landlords, whose home we had been renting.

And yet... it's home. I'm writing this lying on the couch in front of the fire in the sitting room, once simply the most horrifyingly dirty and ugly room I had ever seen in any building, anywhere in the world, now quite a cosy haven. We've met some great people along the way, including one amazing contractor who was our angel. He did amazing amounts of excellent honest work and educated us in the first year. We've had mainly good experiences with the others who actually showed up. I *think* we may have lived through the worst. The bills are still there to be paid, but that's what debt is for. And employment, fortunately.

This place is looking a lot healthier and happier to me, even though I know a lot of the work is invisible to a new visitor and it still looks like a work in progress. But I now feel my tension fall away when I pull into the driveway... and I've become a homebody not only of necessity but because I'm really become attached to the place. The work will never end, but even though it seems endless, we've reached the point that I don't wince *repeatedly* every time I look around. Like so many others posting here, it's been important to do the nasty jobs that were ignored for so long FIRST. Apart from the cosy sitting room, the decor priority has been to make it clean, safe and useable for us and for visiting friends. 'Dessert' renos, like the kitchen and bathroom remodellings, are still very far down the road.

I feel very warmly towards the hardworking Irish immigrants who built this place so solidly and with such an excellent eye for symmetry and proportion. We might be here long enough to have to re-do some of our renos, but if not, at least the house will still be in good enough shape that someone else will get to have a turn at looking after it and being looked after by it. Your place sounds like a gem, Alexia, and it's really lucky to have you.

I hope this helps a bit. If not, a good single malt scotch (Bruichladdich?)

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 5:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the support!

We actually had a good week except for finding yet another leaky radiator. The mess from the broken pipes is cleaned up so the house is livable again and dry. The electric work is picking up and we started patching holes in the bedrooms.
Our home has 3 bathrooms but only one toilet and one shower work (not in the same bath...). No sink so the kitchen needs to be used for everything. The toilet is ok but the shower is installed wrong but ok for while. The ceiling underneath the bathroom is gone so we can monitor the drain and see if suddenly goes. Because of that we are actually going to do some bathroom work next month and I can not wait. Something that actually will show! I think having a working sink will be such a milestone and I was able to get a gorgeous vintage pedestal for a very good price.

I can identify with a lot of the stuff you write. Cleaning up, throwing out garbage (including piles of old coal left in the cellar from the old days), having no refrigerator etc etc.

When the movers brought our furniture in the house there was no place to put them because every inch needed to be touched one way or another. We just piled them in middle of rooms so the walls around were accessible for drilling holes. All the closets are also under construction so there is no storage for clothes. Still in the boxes.

But I am getting better now!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 6:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

'gatineauhills' - what an enjoyable read - if you don't write for a living you should!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 9:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, blufish! It was fun to write... because we've done enough now to look back on it with some nostalgia. It took a while to get here. When my husband read my posting, he said NEVER would we have bought this place if we'd really understood what was in store - and that's true. But we're both happy to be here.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 8:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh, how I feel your pain! My 1919 Craftsman always throws me a curve ball too. It's just part of the joys of owning an old house. I'm in the process of new electrical too- ugh- AND a kitchen remodel. Talk about fun. And, I am living in the house along with all the construction dust. God forbid I get lung cancer from all this someday! Hang in there- as the above said it best, some of us are too busy to post and lament with you, others just wish they lived in a home that has as much old character and beauty as our homes do. Look back on this in a few years and laugh. And now I'm off to grout my tile......

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 1:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Cyndi Charney

I know your pain! We moved from a brand new house to this old house 12 yrs. ago. I have been an "old house luvr" since I was a little girl. When DH saw an open house ad for a Victorian right here in town, he knew I would get a kick out of looking around. We had no plans to move, but after seeing the house and barn, we too took the plunge.

Our new house sold in 5 wks. and we moved in in late April. We had problems right off the bat with the PO, Jr., who owned the home with his mother, who inherited a share of the house from her parents. Jr. bought out her siblings shares, but wasn't able to keep up with his mortgage. When Mom found out it was going into foreclosure she picked up the payments and put it on the market. Mom apparently didn't communicate very well with Jr. We had an agreement to rent the house for two days before settlement and when we came over to sign some papers at the house two days before, Jr. was still in bed and there was no evidence that anything had been packed let alone moved.

When we did move in on Monday, we found that Mom and Jr. had left the basement and barn full of crap. Rather than delay settlement, since we had nowhere else to go, DH decided we would take care of the mess. We spent the first six months running ads, having yard sales, and filling a dumpster. At the same time, the house needed to be painted and that took much of our free time.

We did take a vacation that year, but came home to find the bathroom ceiling laying on the floor. Jr. had installed a shingled roof on a dormer with a low pitch and rain water infiltrated the roof and damaged the ceiling. That was the low point for me. I had the worst buyers remorse and couldn't believe I sold my brand new to me house with a family room, finished basement, deck and pool to move into a house with tiny bedrooms, no closets, peeling paint and wallpaper, cracked plaster, a splintering kitchen floor, too many unexpected surprises and of course, not enough extra money to take care of everything we wanted/needed done.

I have to be honest and tell you that it took about a year and a half for me to actually start liking my house again. Once we got past the mechanical and structural issues, we were able to start decorating, add a deck and pool, install a second closet in our bedroom, and last year we finally added the family room that I so sorely missed from the last house.

The one piece of advice I would offer is that as soon as you correct the mechanical issues with your house, pick one room and finish it the way you envision it. This room will become your refuge and give you a place to "escape" to when you need a break. Eventually the list will shorten and you will be able to relax and enjoy your home.

Just today DH and I were talking about how much more free time we have. Most of the problems we encounter now are no different than those we would be facing in our former home. It really is worth it in the long run and I can honestly say that I love living in an old house. I hope you start to feel the same about your old house.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 6:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I, like oldhouseluvr, have always adored old houses. We moved into our circa 1900 farmhouse nearly eight years ago from a practically new Colonial. I was completely taken in by the wraparound porch on three sides and the lovely large lot filled with trees. Unfortunately, said porch is attached to a tired old house with no storage, ancient radiators that keep us up at night and sagging ceilings, just to mention a few of its delights! We have tackled many projects, including foundation work,a kitchen remodel and exterior paint. As so many others have experienced, it has been a complete money pit! Our latest project was to re-roof the house and add a shed dormer in a bedroom to make room for a closet. The contractor( sort of a friend) has left us in the middle and my two sons have been sleeping on the couch since August. Still, I just love my yellow farmhouse and we will persevere. I just love it when my kids come home from their friends' McMansions and comment on how it was a cookie-cutter house!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 3:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh, I needed to read this thread! It is so comforting to hear all your stories, to know that I am not alone, and that, in fact, my money pit is not as bad as it could be.

It's just so depressing when yet another thing goes wrong. Today we have a new leak. I am sad. I had just started to feel happy about my house again, but I know we will make it through this, too.

Thank you all for sharing your stories.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 7:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

xantippe, water is my new enemy. I sleep at nights and my ears are tuned to noises that a leak would make expecting the worst....

The latest problem we have with water are 2 windows that leak when it rains. They are ancient casement windows and they do no close tight so water comes in. I have no idea how to fix them. Anything I tried did not work. I have absolutely no money to install new windows. I got a couple of quotes and it is 1000$ per window. Ouch.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 10:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Alexia, I know your pain! We saved for four years to replace our windows and doors (and before anyone screams, know that they were aluminum or rotted entirely out basement windows--nothing worth preserving). Our new windows and doors are marvelous... except that there is this mysterious leak under the back door now. We went with the best rated company in the city for the installation, so I have to believe they will fix it. They're calling back today, hopefully.

I don't know what to tell you about your windows. Hopefully, someone here will know.

I will say that in our leak-prone house, caulking has turned out to be a godsend. Make sure that all your window frames, door frames, and places where siding intersect with chimneys etc are well-caulked. We had a icky leak by the chimney that I think is now solved due to $6.00 worth of caulk.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 6:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

All you guys ROCK!!!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 1:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I moved from a Georgian colonial in MA to a 20 yr old home in MD. Thought I left house issues behind. Nooooo. Leaking roof, leaking skylights, water seepage through grade level foundation, corroded plumbing from well water, windows that need replacing, insufficient insulation, and a whole list of other problems mostly due to poor quality workmanship. With all it's issues, the house also lacks charm or interesting details (sole redemption is its great location.) At least, in the end, you get to live in a real gem.

P.S. I don't understand why your new roof should be leaking if properly installed. I had a new roof put on part of the house in winter (hovers around freezing in MD) and it does not leak. This roofer, who knew what he was doing, pointed out that another section I had done the year before had been poorly installed. Those roofers had set the hydraulic pressure too high on the nailer-the nails were going through the shingles (no wonder I still had a few leaks in that section). The good roofer commented he didn't know what was holding those shingles on. Sounds like you could have a similar problem. Incidentally, the competant roofer used a regular hammer to nail shingles-no hydraulic system for him.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 8:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

riverspots, the problem with my roof is that my house sits on a hill and it is 3 stores high. Anytime that it is windy you can not believe what kind of wind I get. So I often get flying shingles and the water came from that area. Thankfully my roofer comes back regularly and puts them back with extra adhesive underneath so right now I am hopefully good. I did not have any leaks lately knock on wood. My roof seems to get stabilized (fingers crossed). I have no experience with new houses. I was originally renting a 1920's house with beautiful woodwork, then I moved to a 1930's colonial which slowly remodel and now I am in the money pit, but beautiful original shingle. The only new houses I've lived in were in Europe but those where custom made houses and they were amazing.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 9:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

riverspots, the problem with my roof is that my house sits on a hill and it is 3 stores high. Anytime that it is windy you can not believe what kind of wind I get. So I often get flying shingles and the water came from that area. Thankfully my roofer comes back regularly and puts them back with extra adhesive underneath so right now I am hopefully good. I did not have any leaks lately knock on wood. My roof seems to get stabilized (fingers crossed). I have no experience with new houses. I was originally renting a 1920's house with beautiful woodwork, then I moved to a 1930's colonial which slowly remodel and now I am in the money pit, but beautiful original shingle. The only new houses I've lived in were in Europe but those where custom made houses and they were amazing.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 8:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hello everyone! Thanks so much for posting. I am living the nightmare right now! I live in Brooklyn, NY in an over 100 YO brownstone. I bought my house awhile ago and have been really happy, doing little things and then it happened.

I went in the basement in Oct. and found a small leak. I called a GC friend who came by and said no problem I'll fix over the weekend. Well that one little leak has grown to......

1. All the hot and cold water pipes in the house are original and had to be changed.
2. Hot water heater died had to buy a new one.
3. While installing hot water heater found out that gas furnace had a leak and was corruded. Had to buy an new one
4. Changing pipes in the bathroom led to two air vents that were connected to nothing, walls are rotting, hense bathroom gutted.
5. Changing pipes in kitchen, find out the kitchen (an addon) is built on dirt. Thats why my tiles cracked so. And it had 3 vents hooked to nothing. The original brick wall caved in. Thus a brand new kitchen. Vents in both the bathroom and the kitchen was behind walls so never knew they were there.
6. Dining room is right at kitchen and the radiator has a small leak. Ok lets fix, he pulls up a little of the hardword and fines that the beam is dry rotted. Not one, not two but 3.
7. Electrical is all from the thirtys and some boxes were just opened and not connected. It's a wonder I never had a fire
8. Living room has big picture window. But when it was installed who knows when, they didn't put in a steel beam to hold the front of the house. So two beams had to be put in.

My house is a mess, my stuff is a mess, things happened so fast I wasn't able to pact everything. I am just shocked, I'm not sure where to go or what to do.

I count my blessings that my GC is a family friend and he is working with me and doing everything that needs to be done. Money...what is that....where is it coming from. I just say God is good.

So with fingers crossed things should be finished by April and I will have a brand new first floor. GC says in a couple of years he will be back (it'll take that long to pay him) to do the 2nd floor and then the 3rd and lastly the basement.

I know in my heart it will get better but the last few months I've done nothing but cry.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 3:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

MadameG2U, hugs & wishing your pocketbook a speedy recovery.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 4:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

MadamG2U if you lived closer I would invite you over for dinner.
We might get a good day or a good week here and there and then it hits us again.
Yesterday, we figured out that 2 not 1 but 2 of the expensive radiators that we bought can not be installed directly on to the old fittings (do not ask). I thought that was done and over but no, more money to be spent and more anxiety on how to solve the problem.
And today trying to fix a ceiling light I figured out it is connected to a live gas line. Apparently it used to be a gas lamp that was converted to electric but never was disconnected. I traced the line and of course the way it is located is complicated. I mean it can be done fine but it will take the plumber a couple of hours, not just few minutes and of course I ll have to pay for it....
ok enough, back to drinking more coffee and get more fired up....

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 4:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My leak ("repaired" last week) is back again! Ahhhh!

I am so glad to have you all to whine to, because my coworkers, in their neat new homes (or apartments where someone else has to fix everything) just don't get it!

Madamg2u, you have us beat, though. Sheesh. And Alexia, too. Poor kiddos.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 9:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks so much for the well wishes and thoughts. Last night I got home from work to good news and bad. But for the first time the good out weighed the bad.

I have lights on the first floor. My GC is installing spot lights in all the rooms and then one major light in the center of each. The guys surprised me with a skylight in my kitchen. I was wondering why that box was in the truck. Thought it was for another job.

Also I've got ceilings in my livingroom and diningroom. Walls will start today. So I am happy.

Bad news the windowframe in my livingroom is dry rotted and will have to be replace. But he thinks he can save the window.

All in all I woke up this morning in a better state of mind. Now if the snow would just not come.

Have a blessed weekend all.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 9:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for making my weekend guys. Although the PO's left me 800gal of heating oil, the 1950's oil blower finally kicked it this weekend. It's been 40* degreess in the house. Really all I needed was it to last 2 more months. So now it's time to start saving up for geothermal =] Oh yea, the hot water smells like a sulfur hot spring because of the well water.

I've closed up shop for the winter (no more projects), but when it warms up it'll be time for HVAC, windows, insulation, flooring, bathroom gut....and so on and so on. I'm trying to do this but preserve all of old house qualities (plaster, trim, flooring, hardware, cabinets). Even the old hardwood fence posts will be turned into some type of furniture.

Oh yea, I also have a 100 ft grapevine!

And speaking of money pits, I'm starting to research natural swimming pools. That will be the money pit, literally.....

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 3:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hello all thought I would update you on my home. As of today I have walls and ceilings in the livingroom, diningroom,outside bathroom and 3/4 done in the kitchen. The guys are working now covering the seam lines not sure what that is called.

Picked out bathroom fixtures and will be getting soon. Next on the list floors. Putting hardwood in the livingroom and the diningroom. Tile in the kitchen and bath.

Electrical and plumbing done. Need to start looking for appliances and kitchen cabinets.

Its been a long road and for the first time I feel ok. Haven't cryed for one solid week!

Now cleaning up. Everything happened so fast that I wasn't able to put furniture in storage. I as well as the GC have tried to keep the sofas covered but dust finds it way in. Actually dust has taken over its everywhere. My GC says to just wait till he is done.

Oh the joy!


    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 12:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

YEAH ! !! It is called taping....make sure they do a great job of is a true art to tape sheetrock well. Ours is coming loose in places after 7 yrs,,,1890 home that has a restored attic and the house settles and shifts and the sheetrock tape comes loose.

Post pics when you can would love to see ! c

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 10:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I cried for an entire year after we sold our small colonial, for a much larger, much older, fixer upper. I can totally relate to all of you.
In a span of 4 months, my husband gutted and put in a new kitchen, during that time we were having the roof replaced. Only problem was we couldn't get in touch with our roofer. He did our roof in the previous home. After several attempts, I googled him, and found his obituary- he died suddenly. His company and its assets were frozen. We scrambled to find a new roofing company, all of the quotes were 2X the amount our now deceased roofer had quoted. We had no choice it had to be done. Three days after our kitchen was functional, and our new roof had been completed, a storm came through and the tree in our neighbors yard fell and fell onto the plumbing vent pipes, damaged our new expensive roof, and pulled off our gutters. It eventually got fixed.
I could go on, there were so many things that went wrong. But here I am 3 years later, and even with all those things, I made it our home. I no longer miss our last house. It isn't ours anymore. Reading this thread brought back so many memories of that time. Just wanted you to know, the day will come when you fall in love with your home for what it is and what you have made it. It is hard to imagine, but trust me, hang in there, it will happen ;-)

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 5:31PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Sanity check: Huge window & shutter repair/replace bill?
Hey folks! I am the proud new-ish owner of 1740s brick...
interesting plaster job - what to do to fix it?
I'm doing some work in my dining room that includes...
Hot water radiators
We own a 1900 home which has forced hot water heating...
Color advice for new front door
I am buying a new front door (textured steel) to replace...
Weird things found in old houses
So I went on a basement rampage this weekend, donning...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™